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Shrub or Drinking Vinegar

Freestone Peaches in Vanilla Lemon Syrup 6 lb. freestone peaches 4 c. water 1-1/4 c. sugar 3 T. fresh lemon juice 4 t. vanilla a glug of brandy or orange liqueur is always welcome

Wash 6 one-pint canning jars. Place on a tray and keep them hot by placing the jars in a 200°F. oven until ready to use. Wash the peaches. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Set aside.

Rosé and Rhubarb Wine Jelly

Rhubarb Syrup

Wine jellies make a beautiful gift for special occasions. The pastel colour shines in the jar and they are delicious served with charcuterie or on freshly baked goods.

You may use this recipe to make other syrups – blueberry, raspberry, cherry and strawberry are all great choices.

The rhubarb in this recipe may be replaced with any of your favourite seasonal berries, like raspberries or strawberries.

1 c. sugar

You have to make a fruit syrup in order to prepare this jelly. The syrup is a versatile preserve on its own. Recipe for syrup follows. 2 c. rhubarb syrup (see recipe below) 2 c. rosé wine 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice 4 t. Pomona’s calcium water (calcium powder and instructions for mixing calcium water come in the Pomona’s Pectin) 1 c. sugar 4 t. Pomona’s pectin*

Pour the rhubarb syrup, rosé wine and lemon juice into a preserving pan. Add the calcium water. Put the sugar into a bowl and whisk in Pomona’s pectin. Bring the liquids to a full boil. Add the sugarpectin mixture. Stir vigorously 1-2 minutes to dissolve the sugar and pectin. Allow the mixture to return to a full boil. Immediately remove from the heat. The mixture will be thinner than expected, but it will set as it cools. Fill hot clean jars with jelly, leaving 1/4-in. of headspace. Wipe rims with a damp cloth. Seal the jars according to the manufacturer’s instructions and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Makes 4-5 250 ml jars. *Pomona’s Pectin may be purchased at Amaranth, Community Natural and The Cookbook Co. It’s a natural pectin derived from citrus that will set low-sugar jams and jellies.

2 c. rhubarb, roughly chopped 2 c. water fine mesh strainer and /or cheesecloth

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture has boiled, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Do not stir. Cook gently for about 20 to 30 minutes until the rhubarb has softened. Remove from heat. Set a fine-mesh strainer (or a strainer lined with cheesecloth) over a bowl that is large enough to hold 2 cups. Pour the rhubarb mixture into the strainer and let strain until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Softly press the remaining solids with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup. Use for jelly making or pour into a jar and use as a cordial to serve with mineral water or splash on a fruit salad. Store in the refrigerator if not using for jelly. Makes about 2 cups.

Stone Fruit in Syrup You may can apricots, nectarines, plums and pears in a water bath. Don’t peel apricots, plums or nectarines. Pears, although not a stone fruit, preserve very well in syrup. They should be peeled, cored and poached in the syrup for 5 minutes before putting up in jars. Blackberries, blueberries and kumquats can be preserved the same way (no blanching required).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of lemon water to hold the skinned peaches to prevent discolouration. Score the skin of each peach by lightly running a knife along the crease of the peach that runs from the stem end to the blossom end and back to the stem end of the fruit. Dip the peaches, either one by one, or a few at a time, into the boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds, no longer – you don’t want to cook the fruit. Immediately after removing the peach from the hot water plunge it into the ice cold water. Remove the peach from the cold water and, with the skin still on, insert a sharp knife through the flesh of the peach to the pit beginning at the stem end. Turning the peach, follow its crease to the blossom end and back to the stem. This way you have halved the fruit. Hold the peach, a half in each hand, and twist in opposite directions to separate the halves. Remove the stone. Slip the skin off each half. Either leave the peaches in halves or cut it into quarters. Place the skinned halves into the bowl of lemon water to prevent the flesh from darkening. Combine water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a heavy-bottomed preserving pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Turn heat to low and keep warm until ready to use. Add a glug of your favourite brandy or orange liqueur, if you like. Use a colander and drain the lemon water off the peaches. Remove the hot jars from the oven. Use a funnel to pack the peaches, cavity side down, into the jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Fill the jars with hot syrup, ensuring you have left the required 1/2-inch headspace. Gently run a spatula or the back of a small spoon around the inside of the jar to press out any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a damp cloth. Seal the jars according to the manufacturer’s instructions and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes. Makes about 6 pints.

A shrub is a fruit syrup preserved with vinegar. It’s an old-fashioned beverage/condiment that has made a huge comeback. Shrub is derived from an Arabic word that means “a drink.” Drinking vinegars are centuries old, stretching back to Babylonian times, and have been consumed in many cultures. Romans, colonial sailors and 19th and 20th century households have all enjoyed the pleasures of shrub drinking. Try mixing a shrub into your favourite cocktail or putting a splash in your mineral water. You can also use the brightly flavoured syrup in salad dressings in lieu of your regular vinegar, as a glaze for meats and roast veggies, or add a splash to homemade jam.

Cherry Vanilla Shrub 2 c. fresh, washed and pitted cherries (frozen also works) 2 T. vanilla extract 1-1/2 c. sugar 2 c. apple cider vinegar

Put the cherries, vanilla and sugar into a 2 qt. wide-mouth glass jar. Use a muddler or wooden spoon to crush the cherries, macerating the fruit and releasing juice. Make sure all the sugar is moistened by the cherry juice. Seal the jar and give it a good shake. Let the cherry/vanilla/sugar mixture sit in a cool place for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 48 hours. A lot of juice from the fruit will be released during this time. Add the cider vinegar. Store in a cool place for at least 7 days and up to 4 weeks. Shake the shrub daily. Strain the shrub mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Gently press on the fruit to extract as much liquid as possible. Using a funnel, pour the shrub into a bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to one year. To flavour sparkling water, add one ounce (or more, depending on taste) to five ounces of soda water. Serve over ice. Makes approx. 1 qt. Try experimenting with other flavour combinations: Blackberry and Thyme Apricot and Ginger Strawberry and Lemon Balm Cherry Balsamic ✤ Val Andrews is the owner of The Harvest Pantry, a food pantry and kitchen tool supply shop in London, Ontario. She teaches classes in preserving and fermenting foods. CITY PALATE.ca JULY AUGUST 2015

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